Friday, June 22, 2007
There are many issues that affect the transgender part of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. In 2001, the Task Force established the Transgender Civil Rights Project to work for transgender equality. The Task Force strives to make all of its work transgender-inclusive and also believes that working on transgender-specific issues is critical to meeting our mission of achieving freedom, justice and equality for all LGBT people.
Why it Matters:
Transgender people are and have always been an integral part of our community, and the struggle to establish civil rights protections for transgender people cannot be separated from the struggle to win freedom and equality for lesbian, gay and bisexual people.
What We’re Doing:
The Task Force leads national efforts to broaden the definition of our communities to include transgender people in the public policy debates on civil rights, hate crimes and health.
- We work in coalition with other groups devoted to ensuring transgender equality. A primary goal is to educate members of Congress about discrimination against transgender people to lay the foundation for a transgender-inclusive anti-discrimination bill. We also work for transgender-inclusive hate crimes legislation at the federal level.
- Our Transgender Civil Rights Project provides legislative, policy and strategy assistance, including evaluation of legislative and policy language, to activists and organizations working to pass trans-inclusive or transgender-friendly laws and policies. Although the primary work of the project centers on nondiscrimination laws and policies, the project can provide assistance to policymakers and activists working to pass any legislation or policies regarding transgender equality. The Transgender Civil Rights Project's primary goal is to increase the number of state, local and federal laws that prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and expression. Prohibiting discrimination based on "gender identity or expression" ensures that the entire range of transgender and gender non-conforming people are protected.
- The Task Force has published two transgender-specific publications: Transgender Equality: A Handbook for Activists and Policymakers and Transitioning Our Shelters: A Guide to Making Homeless Shelters Safe for Transgender People.
Why You Can Do:
TORONTO, June 21 /CNW/ - As Toronto's Pride Week marks a series of events
across the province to celebrate diverse sexual and gender identities, the
Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) is calling on nurses and
health-care organizations to eliminate discriminatory attitudes and practices
which create barriers to inclusive and appropriate health care.
Today, RNAO released a position statement entitled 'Respecting Sexual
Orientation and Gender Identity' to address homophobia and heterosexism in the
health-care system which can limit access to health-care services and
compromise health. Up to 1.25 million people in Ontario identify themselves as
members of gender or sexual minority communities. A Health Canada survey found
that the rates of unmet health-care needs among gay, lesbian, bisexual and
transgender people were nearly double those of heterosexuals.
One reason this diverse population doesn't always receive the care it
needs is because some avoid traditional health-care settings for fear that
they will experience discrimination or be refused care, explains RNAO
President Mary Ferguson-Paré. "We have to confront these issues head on and
ensure that nurses and other health-care providers treat all patients
respectfully," she says.
"Nurses want to provide the best care possible for all their patients. To
meet the needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, it is
essential to understand the complexities of their lives. By issuing this
position statement, we are asking nurses to examine their own attitudes and
beliefs and to learn more about providing holistic care to members of diverse
communities. As frontline health-care providers, nurses can play an important
role in fostering respect for sexual diversity and making our health-care
system inclusive," says Ferguson-Paré.
Health-care organizations must also adapt in order to meet the needs of
diverse clients and the RNAO's position statement outlines steps they should
take. "Organizations must assess the services they provide to determine
whether members of all communities have equal access to care. The next step is
to develop, implement and monitor policies to ensure that services, procedures
and environments are respectful of sexual diversity. It is essential to
include members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities in
this process," says RNAO Executive Director Doris Grinspun.
The position statement also stresses the importance of creating work
environments where gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender nurses and other
health professionals do not experience discrimination from colleagues or
clients. "Genuine respect for diversity is essential to building workplaces
and societies where all people enjoy health and well-being. Nurses of diverse
sexual and gender identities must feel as comfortable at work as their
heterosexual colleagues and must have the same opportunities for professional
development and career advancement," says Grinspun.
To read 'Respecting Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity', please visit
The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional
association for registered nurses in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has lobbied for
healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased
nurses' contribution to shaping the health-care system, and influenced
decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve.
By Audrey Tempelsman
Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum of Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender synagogue, has attended New York City’s Gay Pride March for 20 years — and each time, the experience takes her breath away.
“It’s always so moving when we turn down Eighth St. in the West Village from the park at Fifth Ave.,” she said. “You see the crowds and feel such a tremendous outpouring of love and energy and excitement.”
This Sunday, Rabbi Kleinbaum will be among the first marchers to take in the view. She and Reverend Dr. Troy Perry of Metropolitan Community Churches, a worldwide ministry with a special outreach to the L.G.B.T. community, are the march’s grand marshals. Not only will they lead thousands of celebrants downtown, they will be the first religious figures in the march’s 38-year history to do so.
“We’re going to stand at the front in a united float with choruses from both our communities singing together,” Kleinbaum explained.
Though the choice of this year’s grand marshals may come as a surprise to some, Dennis Spafford of Heritage of Pride, the organization behind the march, considers it complementary to the event’s agenda:
“People often forget that this is not a party, it’s a march. It’s a political statement,” Spafford said. “Religious groups around the world have been so negative toward the idea of homosexuality and transgender identities. Rabbi Kleinbaum and Reverend Perry will send the message that we’re as much a part of the religious community as others are.”
Both Rabbi Kleinbaum and Reverend Perry have long struggled on behalf of the L.G.B.T. community.
Before joining Beth Simchat Torah in 1992, Kleinbaum served as the director of congregational relations for the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington, D.C.
She has stood before the U.S. Congress and in federal court to argue for the legalization of same-sex marriage and attended the conference of U.S. religious leaders at the White House in 1999.
In March, Kleinbaum was arrested in front of the Times Square military recruiting station for protesting comments by General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on the immorality of homosexual behavior. Less than a month later, she was named one of Newsweek’s “Top 50 Rabbis” in America for her work at Beth Simchat Torah.
But as hopeful as this moment is, it’s important to remember how we’ve grown as a movement, and to be aware of pitfalls that remain before us. We should guard our hard-won unity and solidarity, which has paid handsome dividends in recent years. And we must also step up efforts to educate allies about our “cutting edge” issues.
In Washington, the hate crimes bill, now fully inclusive of transgender people as well as gay men, lesbians and bisexuals, passed the House of Representatives this month by a strong majority (237-180), and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), now similarly inclusive, has been introduced in the House.
At the state and local levels, LGBT equality is moving forward at a record pace. Anti-discrimination bills covering sexual orientation and gender identity have been enacted this year by the legislatures of three states (Oregon, Colorado and Iowa), while the Vermont legislature has extended civil rights protection to transgender people (gay, lesbian and bisexual Vermonters have been covered since 1992).
Gay, lesbian and bisexual people are protected from discrimination in jurisdictions covering 52 percent of the U.S. population, and transgender people in jurisdictions covering 37 percent of the population. And about 20 percent of the population live in jurisdictions that offer broad rights and responsibilities to same-sex couples.
All of these gains didn’t come without painful internal struggle. We’ve made mistakes as a movement, corrected them and learned and grown in the process. The most important of these lessons concerns the danger of disunity and the necessity of solidarity in diversity.
In his 2004 book, “Stonewall,” David Carter points out how the synergy of different groups of queer people helped make the Stonewall riots of 1969 the decisive moment for the modern gay movement.
When the Greenwich Village bar was raided, a small number of transsexuals and drag queens set the tone by refusing to cooperate with arresting officers; a few butch lesbians resisted physically when the police began dragging them to patrol wagons; and effeminate gay street youth bore the brunt of the confrontations with law enforcement. Meanwhile, more conventionally gendered gay people, who had already begun organizing politically well before Stonewall, provided leadership that could ideologically challenge the pervasive homophobia of that time and turn a street confrontation into a sustained movement. Queer people of color such as Sylvia Rivera and Marcia P Johnson offered a strong example of courage and militancy during the three-day uprising. . . .